We've noted that Sumner County's teachers rank 54th out of 141 systems in the state when it comes to teacher pay. Of course, Tennessee is a big, diverse state with a number of both rural and urban districts. A comparison of how Sumner County teachers fare compared to our neighbors is helpful in determining just how competitive our salary is. Likewise, adding in consideration of health insurance, a key benefit, makes the compensation comparison more meaningful.
In eight nearby counties, there are 11 school districts (8 county systems plus city systems in Murfreesboro, Lebanon, and Franklin).
Here's a breakdown of average salary (as reported by the Tennessee Department of Education) for those systems, ranked from top to bottom:
So, in average salary, Sumner County ranks ninth out of these 11 regional districts. We're just above two relatively small, significantly less wealthy districts. Our pay is about $3000 below the regional average.
But, it's also important to look at total compensation, which includes health insurance. That's a significant benefit and how districts handle it can make a big difference to teachers and their families. To their credit, the Sumner County Board of Education offers one of the best insurance packages in the region. In fact, our insurance package ranks third, behind only Williamson and Rutherford counties. That's the good news.
Now, here are the systems ranked by compensation including health insurance:
So, when you factor in insurance, Sumner County moves up to eighth in total compensation, up one place from the raw salary rank. Again, good news: Our district is already doing the hard part and paying a solid insurance benefit. Still, Sumner ranks near the bottom in terms of financial reward for teaching in the region. We are $5500 behind the top district, Williamson.
Sumner County should be working to become the most desirable place in the region to teach. We should be moving our teachers to near the top of this list in total compensation. We should aim to be a top 10 district in the state in teacher compensation. The last adjustment to the pay scale in Sumner County came in 2014.